New Delhi: The capital woke up to a gloomy and dusty Wednesday morning with several pollution monitoring stations reporting PM 2.5 levels in the hazardous zone.
After almost a week of relatively safe air quality, Delhi's pollution levels began rising northwards from late Tuesday. A haze descended over the city and adjoining areas with fine dust and particulate matters being brought in by low-speed winds. On Wednesday morning, air pollution monitoring agency AQICN reported that PM2.5 levels at RK Puram and Okhla Phase II at around 0800 hours were at 660 and 738, respectively. Rohini (838), Wazirpur (858), DTU (849) and Anand Vihar (812) were even worse. Most of the other stations reported readings ranging between 325 and 800.
The levels are far higher than the standard safe limit of 100.
The increase in pollution levels, reported to be due to prevailing weather conditions, has once again made children, elderly and those suffering from breathing disorders vulnerable.
Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world but pollution usually spikes in winter months due to a number of reasons including stubble burning in adjoining states. In a recent report released by WHO, Delhi figured prominently in a list of world's most polluted cities. Of the top-20 cities mentioned, 14 were in India and included Faridabad and Gurgaon. Millions die in India due respiratory diseases each year - deaths which can be prevented by improving air quality in urban centres.